Highlands Blog: On Being a Grandparent & Connecting Time (Disclaimer Included!)
by Dr. Steve Lawrence, Highlands School Administrator, Dad to 6 Children, and Grandpa (Pops) to 6 Incredible Grandkids
I was going about my workday, and then I ran into Ruth in the hallway. The meeting was intentional on Ruth’s part. She is the person who publishes information for the school, and she asked if I had any thoughts about being a grandparent. Well, my first thought was, “How obvious is it that I look like a grandpa?”
After agreeing to the task of blogging about grandparenting, thoughts at first came randomly to me. I thought for a couple of days and concluded that moving from being a father to a “grand” father happened more quickly than I thought it would! But her question caused me to seriously think about what I want to do as a grandpa, or as the grandkids call me, “Pops.”
What does Pops strive to bring to this relationship (that makes me smile way too much)? What do grandparents do? What should they do? My belief of “grandparenting” is there are many roles. Grandparents do many things depending on the family. So often, what grandparents do is simply whatever is needed. In my relationship with grandkids, I have an intention. In our interactions, I desire to connect time.
Let me explain. We live in a time/era/society when the things of history are perceived as irrelevant or all bad. My children gave me the title of “father,” but my grandkids added “grand” to that title. There was a span of time between those titles. Looking into the face of my grandchildren causes a different reaction in my heart than looking into the faces of my children. In my grandkids, I see the future, which requires a connection to the things I have experienced, and to the things I have observed from my parents’ generation. I have spent my life believing in and working for the fact that children are the tomorrow. However, my desire for my grandchildren is that they carry the timeless things into a generation I will not see, not my preferences but rather those things that are timeless.
Time has worked its perspective into me. When spending time with my grandkids, I have thoughts about helping them see and understand things that stand up through time. I think of things such as an appreciation of beauty, the greatness of love, the veracity of faith, and the necessity of hope.
Time has shown me these things are more important than my grandchildren knowing how to hold a spoon. These things are more lasting than if their clothes match when we go fishing or if they should be wearing shoes on the playground. Sure, eating, dressing, and playing are important; but that is why they have parents. Being “Pops” (a grandparent) is a wonderful opportunity to introduce and demonstrate the timeless things. This interactive relationship between the past and the future is good. It makes the heart warm in a person whose head is getting grey.
My children are good people and will certainly do a wonderful job of rearing my grandkids, but I enjoy the role of connecting those timeless, wonderful things that must flow through the generations. What are my thoughts on being a grandparent? Cherish that time with the grandkids. That time does good things for me. First, it has restored my confidence in genetics. Those grandkids of mine are as smart as a whip and are all above-average in good looks, just like their grandma!
Secondly, and more seriously, time has given me the opportunity to see the value of the things that are timeless and essential for a worthy life. I will cherish any time afforded me with my grandkids. I will strive to show them in real time and real ways what love is, what hope does, what faith accomplishes, and what beauty looks like.
If you are a grandparent, you are blessed for sure. If you get to spend time with your grandchildren, your blessings are double. Take advantage of that time, making an investment in the future.
Finally, it is important to add a disclaimer for better understanding. Regardless of what my children think, we (grandma and I) do not spoil our grandkids. This is an incorrect accusation on my children’s part. We are just better at accommodating those beautifully-talented-intelligent grandkids!